Published on 31 October 2021

Is Depression More Common In Women Than Men?

Table of Contents

Depression can strike at any phase of life. The risk of depression exists independent of race or ethnicity. It has been extensively documented that there are gender disparities in depression prevalence, with women experiencing major depression more frequently than men.

According to a study in 2017 by Salk RH, Hyde JS, and Abramson LY. Gender Difference in depression in representative national samples: Meta-analyses of diagnoses & Symptoms, Gender disparities emerge at the age of 12, while girls and women experience depression twice as compared to men.

Several risk factors have been associated with gender differences in rates of depression. Hormonal changes are the reason behind the occurrence of specific mood changes & depressed feelings. But other factors like inherited traits, biological characteristics, and personal life circumstances can trigger depression in women.

Symptoms Of Depression In Women

Even though depression may occur just once during your life, people generally have multiple Depression attacks. During these episodes/attacks, symptoms occur most of the day, almost every day. Symptoms of Depression  In Women may include:

  • Feeling sad or hopeless.
  • Angry and frustrated even for small issues
  • lack of interest and pleasure in doing any activities like sex or hobbies
  • Not getting enough sleep(insomnia)
  • Anxiety and tiredness
  • The body gets slowed while talking, speaking, or any body movement
  • Suicide thought or attempting suicide

Frequently asked questions

Women suffer from depression more than men because their response to depression is different. Women have various different hormones than men that react more emotionally and quickly get depressed.
Women are more like to be stressed than men. There are various biological differences and changes within the body.
There are some signs of depression that you should know: Irrelevant frustration or anger, loss of concentration, lack of appetite, sleeping problems, and thoughts of suicide.

Here’s What Contributes To Depression In Women

Various changes occur in women while they are going through a depression-like state, such as:

Hormonal Changes

Hormonal changes during puberty increase the risk of developing depression. After puberty, the risk of depression is higher in females than males. Women's peak onset of depressive disorders overlaps with their reproductive years, i.e., 25-44 years of age.

The premenstrual syndrome may often cross a line into premenstrual dysphoric disorder- depression. It is due to the cyclic changes in estrogen, progesterone, and other hormones. Dramatic hormonal changes occur during pregnancy which can also increase the risk of developing depression in females.

Other hormonal factors contributing to a woman's risk for developing depression are sex differences related to the HPA (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal) axis and thyroid function. 


Studies of identical twins suggest that major depression can be linked to genetics. Approximately 40% of the risk for contracting major depression may be related to family history. Women may be the unlucky recipients of a genetic mutation associated with developing severe depression. 


Puberty may be connected with other experiences associated with depression in women, like family conflict, identity problems, and pressure to achieve something. Because girls most probably reach puberty at an earlier stage than boys. That’s why they also develop depression at an earlier age as well.

Socialization Differences

Research claims that gender differences in socialization could play a significant role in developing the risk of depression. Generally, females are socialized to be more sympathetic and nurturing to the opinion of others.

At the same time, males are encouraged to develop a tremendous sense of mastery and independence in their lives. Masculine gender socialization emphasizes norms like impassiveness, toughness, and the avoidance of anything alleged as feminine, including displays of emotion. 

Social Roles

It has been hypothesized that women who are housewives and mothers may find their role diminished by society. At the same time, women who pursue careers may face discrimination and job inequality, which can cause conflict between their roles as a mother, a wife and their work. This could be a primary reason for developing depression among women.

Life Circumstances And Culture

Depression in women is not exclusively due to biology alone. Life circumstances and cultural stressors can also play a significant role. These circumstances occur in men, too, though at a lower rate. 

What Increases The Probabilities Of Depression In Women?

As per the National Institutes of Health, things that increase the chance of Depression in women include Hormonal change, genetics, puberty, socialization difference, other biological factors, And specific psychological and personality characteristics. 

In addition, females juggle work with raising children, and females who are single parents suffer more pressure that may trigger symptoms of Depression. Other things that could increase risk include:

  • History of mood disorders in earlier reproductive years
  • Loss of a parent before the age of 10
  • Family history of mood disorders condition
  • Social stress, like loss of a job, relationship stress, separation, or divorce
  • Physical or Sexual Abuse as a Child
  • The reaction of certain medication 

Factors That May Increase The Risk Of Depression In Women

Various factors that are the reason behind the risk of depression are as follows:

  • Unequal power and status.
  • Work overload.
  • Sexual or physical Abuse.

Other conditions that occur with depression:-
Women with depression also have particular mental health conditions that need to be treated as soon as possible, which include-

  • Anxiety.
  • Eating disorder.
  • Drug or alcohol misuse.

How Does Depression Differ Between Women And Men?

Depression in both women and men differs in several ways: 

  • Depression in women may occur at an earlier age and last for a more extended period.
  • There is a high chance of returning the symptoms of depression, tired and helpless about any life events.
  • Depression in women is more probably to be connected to Anxiety disorder, mainly panic and phobic symptoms and eating disorders. 
  • Women are more likely to feel guilty and try suicide, even though they take their own lives less often than men.

Also, Read

Bottom Line From Practical Anxiety Solutions

Depression is a complicated condition that does not have a particular single cause. Additional research is required to understand the sex differences in rates of depression and its treatment. The current study suggests that biological differences between women and men significantly explain the difference. Cultural expectations, gender roles, diagnosis, and symptoms of depression in men may also contribute to these factors of depression. 

Women are about double as likely as men to have depression during their whole life. Gender-related subtypes of depression are suggested to exist, of which the developed subtype has the most significant possibility of contributing to the gender gap.